Start: Lake Emily (2,283km)
Finish: Lake Emily
Cumulative distance: 2,283km
Well, there was a strong chance of it happening at some point; and so it did. The dreaded enforced rest. It was always going to take a solid reason to stop me from a day’s running, and the horror bug giardia certainly met that criteria.
I was feeling pretty low coming down off the late night Clent Hills leg and, to be honest, had been for a while previously - the gradually deteriorating ‘icky’ stomach being the telltale sign. I was completely whacked when I got in after that leg, so I put the hot and cold semi-fever symptoms down to fatigue and a confused body, but in the morning I knew something was properly amiss. I wrote the day off very quickly, I suspect making everyone in camp sit up and realise that I had problems. I slept pretty much solidly for the next 24 hours, at least giving my deeply fatigued body a little time to regather itself. But the ongoing fever, upset stomach and cramps were hinting at either a bacterial or giardia type infection. The big plus was having a first class doctor with me. Mark was reassuring, caring and provided first class advice. He is the only one I would listen to when instructed to drink diarolyte hourly. My word, that stuff sucks! We were also extremely fortunate to gain some valuable advice from a serving army doctor, Dr Harvey Pynn, currently based in the UK, who responded so incredibly quickly to our request for help via the satellite phone. I was more than touched by the efforts he made to feed back to us despite being in the middle of shifts.
The challenge was, and may still be, identifying exactly which one of the nasties I am suffering from, so I can take an appropriate antibiotic. We think we’ve sussed it and I’ve now turned the corner as the symptoms are improving quickly, and I have today had the strength to get out on the trail and make some meaningful progress. Separate post on that to follow.
It goes without saying that it’s super disappointing to have dropped from a comfortable sub-50 day schedule, to a probable 52 or 53 day one. But the one thing I can say is that I remained pretty stoic about finishing the job in the hand during my unbelievably low spell, despite my body feeling like it would struggle to regain sufficient shape to do so over the last 72 hours. The amount of hard work that has gone into getting me this far means that I simply have to get to Bluff, whatever it flaming well takes.
The time I spent horizontal gave me plenty of opportunity to mull over what’s happened to date, and what I’ve achieved so far. Having read several other Te Araroa through hiker write-ups whilst being laid up I’ve realised how proud I should be of managing to follow the trail 100% precisely to date (closed sections excepted – diversion followed), given how dynamic and challenging the terrain is, and how adverse the weather is most days! After the trip I will document my detailed route (which is of course tracked in real time by my SPOT) so whatever finishing time I do achieve, it will be clear to whoever is interested, the exact path I followed. I think transparency is crucial in a fastest time attempt like this, and hopefully everyone can appreciate my attempts to maintain that principle.
But for now, I’m just delighted to be back on the trail again. I’m definitely not out the woods yet, so keep your fingers and toes crossed that the recovery continues.
|If you think i look grumpy, that's because I am!|